In 1933 a mysterious fossil skull was discovered near Harbin City in the Heilongjiang province of north-eastern China. Despite being nearly perfectly preserved – with square eye sockets, thick brow ridges and large teeth – nobody could work out exactly what it was. The skull is much bigger than that of Homo sapiens and other human species – and its brain size is similar to that of our own species. Historical events left it without a secure place of origin or date, until today.
Young orangutans must acquire a vast set of skills and knowledge as they grow. They do this through several years of observational social learning and practice. New research shows that growing female and male orangutans pay attention to different types of individuals.
Archaeologists have learned a lot about our ancestors by rummaging through their garbage piles. One common kitchen scrap in Africa– shells of ostrich eggs–is now helping unscramble the mystery of when these changes took place, providing a timeline for some of the earliest Homo sapiens who settled down to utilize marine food resources along the South African coast more than 100,000 years ago.
An international team of researchers has identified the earliest known human burial in Africa at Panga ya Saidi, a cave near the Kenyan coast. The remains of a 2.5 to 3 year-old child were found deliberately buried in a shallow grave directly under the sheltered overhang of the cave. The child was laid carefully on their side, in a curled up position, likely wrapped in a shroud with a pillow under the child's head.